Sunday Night Check-In: Revisiting My Bucket List Louisianne

Cafe des Amis ... Bucket List Item #24

Cafe des Amis … Bucket List Item #24

My friend Robbie wrote about my birthday party in his blog today. He reminded me of my Bucket List Louisianne. I wrote about it when I first moved here. I worked on it awhile and then got distracted by everyday living. I noticed today that I’ve crossed off quite a few in the short time I’ve been here. Some I planned to mark off the Bucket List, and others I just happened to do without any intention other than having an invitation. There’s a few more I need to cross off this list this year.

  1. Take a swamp tour
  2. Drive Highway 1 to Grand Isle
  3. Tour Laura Plantation
  4. Teddy’s Juke Joint for Blues
  5. Chase a Chicken (the real Cajun Mardi Gras)
  6. Paddle to the Queen Bess Island Rookery
  7. Tailgate at LSU on a Saturday night
  8. Discover the Tunica Hills/Clark Creek
  9. Dance at the Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville
  10. Discover my roots at the Rural Life Museum & Burden Center in Baton Rouge
  11. Catch my own fish and cook it  (Deep sea fishing)
  12. Sleep in a four-poster bed in a plantation
  13. Wander Windsor Ruins on a fall day (Port Gibson MS)
  14. Ride the St. Tammany Trace by bicycle
  15. Take an early morning walk in the French Quarter
  16. Take a sunset cruise on a Biloxi Schooner
  17. Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in New Orleans
  18. Drive your own Boudin Trail – Sampling boudin all over the state
  19. Visit Afton Villa when the azaleas are in bloom
  20. Abita Springs Opry
  21. View photographs from Natchez chronicling the years 1850-1950 at the Stratton Chapel in Natchez
  22. Watch the sun set on the Mississippi River
  23. Take a cemetery tour
  24. Zydeco breakfast at Cafe’ Des Amis in Breaux Bridge
  25. Visit the Huey Long statue at the State Capitol
  26. Find a Conrad Albrizio Mural
  27. Eat an original muffuletta at Central Grocery in New Orleans
  28. Christmas Eve Bonfires
  29. Paddle Virgin Cypress at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
  30. Take a ferry ride West to Algiers

This evening a friend of mine in Memphis sent me a link to an article that the New York Times published on Baton Rouge’s blues scene. I had no clue the area was once known for Blues Music, and it seems that I live two blocks from Phil Brady’s, a place where live music abounds. Teddy’s Juke Joint is on my Bucket List, so I guess I’d better make a date to check it out. I already know about the Red Dragon Listening Room which hosts a lot of live music in a theatre-type setting. I get their emails with their scheduled performances, but I rarely go. I don’t know why, other than the fact that last year’s budget cuts kept me engaged in free or really low-cost activities. At $20 – $50 a show, it’s not really expensive – especially the $20 ones – but I cut it out all the same. I need to look at their schedule again and get some dates on the calendar. I can always go indoors to listen to live music in July and August!

This weekend has been a mix of fun and feeling a little bit off. I had a fabulous time on Saturday. You can read yesterday’s blog for more on that. But this morning I woke up in a real funk. I felt down and extremely sluggish. I felt the same way on Friday. I hope to settle in for an early night. I took a long walk on the levee today with a new friend and had brunch at Another Broken Egg. I was hoping the sunshine and the walk would perk me up, but I didn’t shift emotionally. This evening I headed over to the Red Shoes for a sacred circle that I attend on Sunday evenings. I felt very quiet, but I was very happy to be among friends and fellow spiritual travelers.

I’m settling in for a quiet evening listening to some soothing music. There’s a dog snoring gently beside me and a cat purring in my lap. I’m sipping some Chinese herbal tea, and I’m hoping they will do their magic. I’ve slept like a dead person Friday and Saturday night, so I hope for more of the same deep sleep tonight. I’m off tomorrow for MLK day. I hope it will be a quiet day, but I do really need to get some intense exercise. Hopefully, I’ll wake up feeling energetic first thing. I was supposed to run the half marathon today in the Louisiana Marathon, but my knee injury late last year canceled that. I had to watch the runners running by my house with some jealousy. But, congratulations to my friend Tracy who completed her first half marathon today! That’s a huge accomplishment, and it’s not ‘half’ of anything. It’s a challenging race distance on its own!

I’m already thinking about Mardi Gras. I downloaded my parade tracker last week, and I want to attend some of the earlier parades as well as the ones the weekend before. I plan to chase a chicken at the old time Mardi Gras this year. It was on the calendar last year, but our plans got derailed by frozen bridges across the Atchafalaya Basin in a freak cold spell. We’ll hope for better weather this year!

Let There Be Flowers in January

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My friend Trisha decided to come down for a visit from Memphis over MLK weekend. We’ve been counting down the days until she got here. Last night we planned to hear the Molly Ringwalds at the Varsity Theatre, but, alas, we got stuck in a major traffic jam that had something to do with a semi that was stuck on stumps. Don’t ask me… I couldn’t figure it out either, but it took us 2 hours to get to BR from the Amtrak station, and, by the time we got to BR, we decided to make it an early night. I have been dying to go to the Zydeco Breakfast at the Cafe des Ami in Breaux Bridge, Bucket List Louisianne Item #24. So, we got up this morning and decided to check it out.

We drove across the Mississippi River Bridge and the Atchafalaya Swamp before we crossed the bridge over Bayou Teche to arrive in Breaux Bridge. There was a short line outside, and we had to pay $5 cover to get in and put our name on the waiting list for a table for breakfast. I got a stamp on my hand at the front door at 10 AM. I’m used to getting stamped for night life, but I felt a little weird about getting a hand stamp this early in the morning. But, my mind really did a second take when we walked into what appeared to be a late evening bar party in full daylight. The dance floor was packed, the bartender was hopping, and the music was blasting amid biscuits and eggs and coffee aroma. I knew there would be music, but I didn’t expect a full on party for breakfast. But, that’s exactly what it was.

Our waitress, Meaghan, was pretty funny. She asked how I wanted my eggs….. “fertilized” she giggled. It took me a minute before I realized what she said. We consulted on the menu and she suggested we have the 1/2 and 1/2 order of biscuits with crawfish etouffee and crawfish au gratin. I took the cheese grits, and Trisha got the andouille grits. I was thrilled to have my 1/2 and 1/2 brought out in a little silver pitcher. I was home. And, the party was just starting. I learned to two step Cajun style, and we people-watched and shared beignets with our Harley rider breakfast companions. Our waitress had to leap over the bar to assist a man who passed out and was a little late bringing our check. It was really fun and just plain invigorating to be part of a morning party of such magnitude. There were tourists and many locals. Meaghan said they have lots and lots of tourists, many from places as far away as London and Australia. We said good-bye, I gave her a blog card and promised I’d be back.

Monroe’s Dress Shop

Walking back to the car, my attention was grabbed by some shiny party dresses in the window at Monroe’s. Beautiful, expensive, opulent dresses were hanging in the window of this little shop in this tiny Cajun town. I had to go in, and, as soon as I did, I knew I had to try some of these things on. It is Mardi Gras season here, and the place was packed. It’s owned by a Mother – Daughter team, and they have customers from hundreds of miles away that buy dresses for balls, parties and pageants. I had to wait for a dressing room, and they let out their mascot Kennedy for us to play with while we waited. Kennedy is about a 3 pound Pomeranian that was cute as a button. The younger owner said everybody knows Kennedy, and I should mention him in the blog. So, there you go, Kennedy….. make me famous.

I tried on a few dresses and decided I couldn’t afford the price tags since I don’t have an upcoming event to attend anyway. But, I sure did find a couple that I’d like to buy if I have a need one day. The store was filled with images of Marilyn Monroe, the queen of sexy. I was by far the oldest gal in there trying on dresses. Most were young gals probably looking for pageant dresses, and they were just beautiful. Moms tucked and pulled to make sure dresses fit. When we were leaving, one young lady had on a cylinder dress that had black and sheer stripes all the way down. She looked amazing! I hope she got that one. It was definitely a show-stopper on her.

We decided to head out to Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Area, but I pulled a fast one when I saw the sign to Lake Martin. We headed down there so I could show Trisha the swamp and were so excited when we saw they were giving swamp tours. That was number 1 on my Bucket List. I was going to get two in one day. The lady at the counter took our $20 and called the tour operator that was just leaving the dock to tell him to turn around and come get us. Imagine our delight when we saw a boat filled with 6 Italian men coming back to get us. Holy Cripe! It was our lucky day. As I turned the corner on the dock, an animal leaped out of the garbage can and about scared me to death. It was the little known and very dangerous swamp kitten that had been attracted to the leftover food in plastic containers in the trash can. She hissed and spat at Ashok who stood there a little confused at the behavior of this tiny animal.

We toured Lake Martin on this beautiful sunny day. Our Black Cajun guide – or would that be Creole – told us about the cypress trees, the heron rookery, duck hunting and the bayou that filled the lake. We both got a little sun, and my dog, who got to come along, showed Trisha and I how to flirt with Italian men by sidling up by all of them. We had a blast. On the way back, Ashok tried to nap while the rest of us tried to say warm. All in all, we saw turtles, herons, egrets, woodpeckers and cormorants. It was too cold to find a gator, and the only one we saw was the plastic one outside the little store.

It’s hard to believe it was  a January day. All of these years I’ve lived up north, and the time between New Year’s and Easter is barren of holidays with the tiny exception of Valentine’s Day which is most of the time a big disappointment. Those are dreary, cold days spent digging out of snow or at least scraping ice off the car and bundling up to keep warm. It’s this time of the year when depression usually sets in for me. But here, my calendar is filled with upcoming Mardi Gras parties and parades. Mornings are perked up with sugar from King Cakes. And today there was dancing at breakfast, beer amid biscuits and party dresses with sparkles, bangles and bows. As I was leaving the dress shop, I stopped to notice a camelia bush in full bloom. I had to laugh at the irony of it all. In most parts of this country, the world is covered in white and bare branches. But, here, in Cajun Country in Louisiana, there are flowers in January. I kind of like that, y’all.

Christmas 2013: Fire, Cold and Spandex

Merry Christmas to all you who tune into Midlife Moments! I hope that you and your families and friends have a chance to celebrate this season of love no matter what your beliefs are or how you spend it.

It is Christmas morning in Pierre Part LA. The sun glitters on Belle River, the backdrop for the cormorants en masse that light on the water, dance in the sunshine and hold their wings out as if to exclaim to the world, “I am beautiful. Don’t you wish you looked like this?” We’ve eaten our biscuits with bacon drenched with cane syrup and are moving about freely with coffee cups in hand. Momma’s in the kitchen. Daddy’s practicing blogging, and I’m acting as an IT help desk when the need arises. The dogs are full but still waiting for food to drop. I’m sure their noses are a kaleidoscope of smells with all of the food covering the countertop. Fruit salad, sweet potato casserole, cranberry cheesecake, pork roast and chicken with shrimp and rice dressing awaits us after our relatives arrive.

I’ve learned a few things this Christmas that I’d like to share with you:

Being an expert is less about what you know and more about what others don’t know.

Daddy asked me to help him with his computer and to teach him how to blog. I’ve spent approximately 8 hours in the role of IT expert and help desk. My IT staff at work would laugh at the thought that me, who often falls apart in a mess of frustration with technology would be teaching someone else.

A designated driver can be dangerous too.

My sister excitedly asked me, “You don’t mind being the designated driver, do you?” as we were planning our departure for the Christmas Eve bonfires last night. “Of course,” I happily replied. Being the one that doesn’t drink anyway makes the selection very easy. Driving home in the darkness of River Road on an unknown road with very few road markings was quite confusing. More than once, I made a quick U-turn on a two lane road. I hit a really bad railroad crossing that almost tore the bottom end of the car apart. And, I had no idea where I was going since the inebriated didn’t bother to look up directions. Susan quipped that the police were going to stop us and, in irony, demand that the drunk people drive instead of me.

Leaving is a process.

Susan and Gary left this morning to go to their family holiday celebration. After they got to the end of Graveyard Island, we discovered she left her LSU cup. We called her, and they came right back. After they left, I was picking up their bed linens and found a beautiful diamond ring. I texted a pic of it to her, and she said she just realized it. Gary was getting mad. Back they came for the jewelry. While she was here we found her boots, Gary’s gloves and her scarf and hat.

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Expect to get lost if you don’t know where you are going.

We pulled a party of 9 together to go to the Christmas Eve bonfires in Lutcher. We were supposed to land at Susan’s friend’s friend’s house. We had some coonass directions that got us vaguely in the area. However, the party is 7 miles long, and the road was lined with wall to wall people. We tried to park next to the party, but when we told the gentleman Susan’s friend’s name, he told us it wasn’t the right house. So, we drove to another spot. They knew Susan’s friend but said her family was “down the road. Watch the levee. When the levee starts to turn, you’re there.” We told him the address we have but he said he knew the family. That wasn’t the address. So, off we went based on some guy’s knowledge of a family that we didn’t even know. We had three cars that were spread out trying to find a spot that was undefined and seemed to be a moving target. After a series of phone calls to my sister’s friend, we made it. Everybody needed a drink – or several – by the time we introduced ourselves to the strangers that later became friends.

Spandex is a privilege not a right. OR: Everybody needs a full-length mirror and a second opinion.

All I can say is I tried to coach my sister into getting a pic of this woman dressed in some candy cane tights walking down the side of the road. There was such a crowd that we couldn’t get a good shot. My friend Bryan asked on FB the other day if they made tights in any color than black, and I could have posted a pic of this to show him why black is a much better color. White tights with pink stripes should be reserved for thin women AND a skirt or dress should be worn over them. PERIOD.

Everything tastes better with cane syrup on it.

Just pour cane syrup on anything and try it.

Hot and cold can exist in the same plane.

My parents don’t have central heat. They live in a refurbished fish camp where they mostly spent summers initially. Now, they live there full-time, and they use space heaters to warm the place. With temps in the 30s this weekend, we go back and forth between turning the space heaters up and turning them off because it’s too damn hot. The temp inside swings from 50ish to 70ish in a matter of minutes. With hot flashes also an issue, I’ve been too hot and too cold a hundred times this last couple of days. At the bonfire, standing too close to the fire was too hot, but moving away a few inches plunged me into cold. Leaving the bonfires, I had on my parka for the outside event, and I drove home with heated seats in the car. All of a sudden in what seemed like one second, I was HOT. I had to get that coat off NOW. My sister said she could turn off the heated seats, but I didn’t want the seats turned off. The warm seats felt so good but the coat was like sitting in a sauna. I almost killed us all trying to strip off that parka while en route.

Trying something new can trump tradition.

Our friends Robbie and Jo Ann accompanied my sister and brother-in-law and my parents and me to the bonfires. The tradition of lighting the Christmas Eve bonfires was one that none of us had ever experienced. Robbie said as long as his mother was alive, doing something different than their traditional Christmas was out of the question. We met some new people, ate some different traditional Christmas Eve fare and experienced something entirely different. We stood at the top of the levee watching the hoards of people below – some on foot… some in cars … one group passed by in a party bus. This was THEIR normal. We talked and drank and watched the fires burn. The family next to us couldn’t get theirs lit, and they worked feverishly to get the flames started. Down the levee, you could see bonfire after bonfire blazing away amid shooting fireworks, kids sliding down the side of the levee on cardboard sleds, and blaring party music. It was fun. This tradition of the bonfires is one that is only celebrated in this 7ish mile stretch of the world. Out on the river, the riverboats and the ocean-going ships passed by watching from the other side. For a few hours, we were part of something truly special. Our friends discussed bringing their RV next year to give us a party base. We’ll see what next year brings.

For me, this is the first Christmas where I’m not already starting to think of the drive home to wherever home was at the time. I actually have a winter break this time. The hour drive – if I don’t get lost – will be short, and I’ll be home in time for an evening walk. It does have a different feel to it. The people I visited with this Christmas are not just people I may see once every few years. They could be people that are part of my everyday life now. I imagine as time goes on, there will be more things I learn about that. My sister said her friend Jackie said her family has been celebrating with the bonfires for as long as she has been alive – 52 years. Susan asked her if they did it before that. She had never thought about it. What was a new experience for us was an old tradition that sometimes bores her now. Most of us standing on the levee at our bonfire – L27 – were the newbies. We stood in the warmth of the fire and took in the scene through our bonfire virgin eyes. We discussed seeing the Christmas lights in Natchitoches next year. Maybe we’ll try something new again.

Bucket List Louisianne: Clark Creek Natural Area

So I set out this morning to Clark Creek Natural Area – #8 on my Bucket List Louisianne. I haven’t been on a solo adventure since I left Memphis, and Ashok knew right away that we were headed somewhere fun. The alarm clock went off at 5 AM, and I was so excited to get out in the woods again that I jumped out of the bed and started packing before I even had my tea. Ashok was beside herself as I packed my lunch, my hiking shoes and got dressed in running gear.

Jessica informed me that I had to run 5 miles this morning – even though I ran a 5K yesterday AND placed in my age group – just because she is mean. She’s been trying to get me to dub her McB*tch instead of the B*tch and I acquiesced and let her have the title since she coached me to an age group win. I knew I had to find a spot along the way for my run. I found the perfect place in St. Francisville. I hadn’t remembered that St. Francisville had so many antebellum homes. I knew they had a couple, but as I ran, I found Rosedown, Audubon’s Oakley Plantation, and the Myrtles. They were all closed of course, but I snuck in a short trek via a back entrance to Rosedown. I didn’t get to take a gander at the home, but I did scare up a fawn who ran in circles and stopped and stared at us for a bit. I didn’t see its Momma until we were headed out, and she darted across the road.

I ran for a bit down the main street of St. Francisville, and house after house had placards out front explaining the historical significance of the homes. It was quiet at that time, and I only saw one couple hard at work manicuring their beautiful yard. I ran down a lovely red-brick sidewalk lined with Live Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. I passed one house with a placard informing me that this was Widow Ross’s home. Admiral Dewey ate supper there when he was a Lieutenant during the Civil War. I giggled as I pictured Lt. Dewey stopping by for a meal. My guess is the Widow Ross was hot. Why else would he be hanging out there? Anybody can cook.

After my run, I had breakfast at Birdman Coffee and Books. Mary prepared the most beautiful, perfect decaf latte’ I’ve ever seen. I joined a young family outside in the garden and brought Ashok over to hang out with me as I ate my eggs and cheese grits. The family had obviously done this before. The kids were playing in the garden, and the parents had a nest built with their food, computers and books. They were there before I got there, and I’m sure they lingered long after I left. The temperature was perfect, and the garden outside was just beautiful.

The destination of the day was the Tunica Hills, specifically Clark Creek Natural Area, where I had been promised waterfalls and an Appalachian style habitat. For $3, you can hang out all day. There were plenty of cars parked outside the entrance when I arrived. The trails aren’t really that long, but they are steep, and in many places, stairs are built to keep people from sliding down the steep inclines. I was really impressed with how clean it was. The water was clear, and I saw at least 5 waterfalls today.

Late morning, I stumbled upon a couple from Baton Rouge. We chatted a bit at a trail crossing and then went our separate ways. I ended up running into Tracy at a stream crossing. She was waiting for Maurice to come back from a run. We hit it off and became fast friends. She is related to Mrs. Swindle, who was one of my high school English teachers. She caught me up on their family. Her parents live in St. Francisville, and we talked about the Magnolia Cafe which sounds like a must on my future visits. I ended up hiking with them the rest of the day. When we finished, we promised to stay in touch and shared our contact info. We have a lot in common.

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It started to rain just as we were leaving. It was a soft, steady rain as I made my way out through Pond, MS. The name is pretty descriptive. There is a pond in Pond MS and a store. Maurice told me I should stop at the store when it is open. It’s been there since the 1800s, and the woman that runs it can tell me all about the history of the area. He also told me to stop in at the Angola Prison Museum where an elderly gentleman who has hiked these woods all his life can tell me anything I want to know and then some. I actually took a wrong turn on the way out and ran smack dab into the Angola prison gates. It freaked me out a bit. Everybody there is in that prison for Life. It’s a little spooky when I think about it.

My sister told me that her husband worked at Angola after he decided he didn’t like teaching school. While he worked there, a couple of the prison inmates escaped. Most escapees try to swim the Mississippi River. But, these two decided to hike the Tunica Hills woods like I did today. After several days, the two escapees walked back to the front gates of the prison and asked to be let back in. The mosquitoes and the woods had gotten to them, so they went back home. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall for the conversation that set them on the path back. It must have been pretty bad.

But, it was nice today. The temperature was perfect. The company was good. All the kids along the way had to stop and pet Ashok. The water in the little stream was really chilly, and it felt good on my tired feet. I hiked for three hours after I ran 5 miles. I think I finally managed to wear my dog out. She’s passed out right now. If I don’t get out in the woods every now and then, I feel nuts. I really needed it. The trickle of the waterfalls cascading down, the gurgle of the sandy stream, the excitement of my dog as she splashed around in the cool water and the feel of the breeze through the leaves just filled me up. Thanks, Clark Creek. That was the best $3 I’ve spent in a long time.

Bucket List Louisianne – I Have a Plan!

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I teased my girlfriends the other night that I had to come to town for them to figure out all the cool things to do in Baton Rouge. They actually said I was right. They had been sticking with their old routines and hadn’t ventured out to see what’s new. That’s how it is when you live somewhere. When I lived in Seattle, I never did go see all the hot spots. Sure, I went to Pike Place Market and did the downtown thing, but I had to go back on vacation after I moved away to do all of the really fun things that take time. My life gets too busy to get out and explore.

So, I’m new to Baton Rouge. I want to explore the area and see what there is to do. There are two magazines here that have been guiding me. One magazine is called 225, and it’s a slick publication that highlights all things Baton Rouge. I fell in love with Memphis after discovering Memphis magazine with its articles about art, trends and history of the Bluff City. 225 is a similar magazine about Baton Rouge. But, I’ve fallen in love with a little monthly rag called Country Roads… Adventures Close to Home. I love adventures, and this magazine is full of them. Plus, they are the kinds of adventures I like. I love small towns, unique areas and natural places. I enjoy the people in a place as much as the place itself. And I like to go and live like a local for a few hours or a few days.

I hit the mother lode with the September issue. It is their 30 Year Anniversary Issue, and they have a list of 30 of their favorite things to do in Louisiana. I think I’ve found my bucket list! I’ve never made one because I usually do the things I really want to do, but this particular list will allow me to explore my home state, and I guarantee it’ll be great blog fodder. As luck would have it, a few of them are already on my calendar. This Sunday, I’m headed to Clark Creek Natural Area for a hike. It’s number 8 on their list. Apparently, it’s an area that is the southwestern-most tip of the Appalachian mountain range called Tunica Hills. I lived in Knoxville for 10 years and explored Appalachia on foot, in the car and by bike. I had no idea there was a bit of it near Louisiana. It’s actually in Mississippi, but it’s not too far. Apparently, there are hills and lots of waterfalls. Who would’ve thunk it?

The Zydeco Breakfast at Cafe’ Des Amis in Breaux Bridge is on my calendar for November. It’s number 24 on their list. My friend Jean Ann and I are going to enjoy the festivities and blog about it. She’s a photographer, and we’ve talked about doing a joint project. She had the great idea that this should be our first outing. The only one I’ve sort of done are the Christmas Eve bonfires. Last year I went on Christmas Eve afternoon, but I didn’t actually see them lit. If you missed that blog, here’s the link. This may be the year that I actually go down there for the big party. I’ve seen them from the riverboats, but I’d love to walk around the fires and have the real experience.

I can tell Country Roads has a heart just like mine. There are outdoor adventures – paddling through virgin cypress at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park – , food adventures – eat a muffuletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans -, and overnight stays – sleep in a four-poster bed at a real plantation. I can’t wait to try all of these adventures on for size. I wonder who I’ll meet. I wonder which one will be my favorite. I wonder which one will be a big disappointment. I wonder which one will haunt my dreams and intrigue my curious mind. I wonder which one will become a regular part of my life. I know there will be all of these.

See the list below for my Bucket List Louisianne:

  1. Take a swamp tour
  2. Drive Highway 1 to Grand Isle
  3. Tour Laura Plantation
  4. Teddy’s Juke Joint for Blues
  5. Chase a CHicken (the real Cajun Mardi Gras)
  6. Paddle to the Queen Bess Island Rookery
  7. Tailgate at LSU on a Saturday night
  8. Discover the Tunica Hills/Clark Creek (Sunday)
  9. Dance at the Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville
  10. Discover my roots at the Rural Life Museum & Burden Center in Baton Rouge
  11. Catch my own fish and cook it  (Deep sea fishing)
  12. Sleep in a four-poster bed in a plantation
  13. Wander Windsor Ruins on a fall day (Port Gibson MS)
  14. Ride the St. Tammany Trace by bicycle
  15. Take an early morning walk in the French Quarter (done it, but I’ll do it again)
  16. Take a sunset cruise on a Biloxi Schooner
  17. Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in New Orleans
  18. Drive your own Boudin Trail – Sampling boudin all over the state
  19. Visit Afton Villa when the azaleas are in bloom
  20. Abita Springs Opry
  21. View photographs from Natchez chronicling the years 1850-1950 at the Stratton Chapel in Natchez
  22. Watch the sun set on the Mississippi River
  23. Take a cemetery tour
  24. Zydeco breakfast at Cafe’ Des Amis in Breaux Bridge
  25. Visit the Huey Long statue at the State Capitol (I’m going to tour it again like a newcomer)
  26. Find a Conrad Albrizio Mural
  27. Eat an original muffuletta at Central Grocery in New Orleans
  28. Christmas Eve Bonfires
  29. Paddle Virgin Cypress at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
  30. Take a ferry ride West to Algiers

Pick one and join me! We’ll have fun. Night y’all.